The bartender tramped three paces to take a couple’s order, waiting patiently while a bald man in a sports jacket asked about the “nose” and “acidity” of various wines on a wine list. After a litany of questions concerning “harvests,” “fermentation,” and “barrel selection,” he inquired about the house red, asking if it was “full-bodied.” The bartender answered, “Like Liz Taylor on a chocolate binge.” Uncorking a bottle labeled Edmeades, he poured two glasses with the nonchalance of someone who had spent more than their fair share of time behind a slab of mahogany. The bald man shoved his face into the glass, held it up to the light, swirled it, and then took a sip.
“Jammy,” he said, as if he had stomped the grapes himself.
His companion sampled hers, seemingly satisfied. The bartender returned the bottle to its shelf, marked a check with a pencil and set the bill in front of them in a brandy snifter. The two kissed as if the bartender’s tip was to witness their affection. (p. 15)
In one of those preliminary statements ostensibly meant to dispel any parity between fact and fiction, but in fact meant to emphasize such parity, Anderson writes:
As for the hippies in the county who may be upset at the depiction of hippies, I say, “Tough shit, hippie.” Anyone willing to identify themselves as a hippie here in the 21st century has their head up their ass and gets what they deserve. (p. vii – unnumbered)
You’re not even 50, Sarah wanted to point out, but instead crossed her arms, trying to guess what Mom had swallowed recently other than a carob-covered raisin. She could hear the fear coupled with the fatigue of being awake too long. But her voice wasn’t racing, her pupils weren’t dilated. It definitely wasn’t dope or wine, unless one or the other had been laced. Mom was riding something unknown to Sarah, something from the medicine chest cut with the stimulus of isolation, old videos, and her daughter’s imminent departure. (p. 245)
In the acknowledgments, Anderson thanks such luminaries as Norman Mailer, Isabelle Allende, Carl Hiassen, and Calvin Trillin for their “support and kind words,” but this is one reader who feels that more time could have been spent drawing from such august counsel and crafting a more nuanced Boonville. To me, the book is an opportunity missed.